Gene Stratton Porter is one of the best beloved authors in my family. My mom and I first discovered her when we read A Girl of the Limberlost together when I was eight years old. That aching, beautiful story of a young girl hungry for her mother’s love and determined to make something beautiful of her life became one of the inner narratives that shaped who I wanted to become. I loved the violin like Elnora, I prowled the land in search of butterflies and moths like Elnora (and the Bird Woman, her friend), and I watched the natural world with the wondering, careful gaze that she taught me. A story to which I return with delight again and again.
Addie Across the Prarie
By Laurie Lawlor
What might the prairie in the pioneer days have been like for a young girl accustomed to a tamer existence? What skills would she have needed to learn, what courage must she have gained? What might happen in a land of sun and storm and prairie fires, and how could a young girl play her part? A great little piece of historical fiction, this tale presents a heroine who grows into the new role she is called to play. I loved this story for Addie’s bravery.
Misty of Chincoteague
By Marguerite Henry
If you have a horse-loving girl who needs a book, this is the one. (My friends and I all went through a stage of being fascinated by horses.) With beautiful depctions of the real-life, annual round-up of wild horses on Chincoteague Island, this is the winsome story of Paul and Maureen, who live with their grandparents, training ponies, and saving up for a pony of their own. When Paul unexpectedly catches the illusive pony, the “Phantom,” along with her new foal, Misty, they get their wish for a pony of their own and a great adventure begins.